Families of victims of Canada’s biggest serial killer disappointed with inquiry
Families of the victims of Canada’s most prolific serial killer say they feel cheated by the inquiry set up to look into the mishandling of the original murder investigations.
Robert Pickton killed at least 33 women on his pig farm between 1998 and 2002, but the relatives of his victims, which included sex workers, claim they were met by suspicion and racism when they reported them missing to the police.
The investigation has been plagued by controversy.
Groups representing sex workers and aboriginals pulled out of the inquiry before it started, in protest at the provincial government’s refusal to pay for counsel to represent them (see WVoN story).
There were also allegations that male staff sexually harassed women workers, and the Commissioner, Wally Oppal, made an ill-judged cameo appearance in a slasher film, as the victim of a serial killer.
The victims’ families claim senior police officers initially refused to believe a serial killer was at work.
The inquiry lasted seven months and heard 83 witnesses. What became clear was that turf wars between local and federal police had hampered the investigation.
At the inquiry, police from the different jurisdictions blamed each other and claimed they could not remember details from so long ago.
Lilliane Beaudoin, the sister of Diane Rock, whose blood was found on Pickton’s pig farm said:
“It’s been one disaster after another. I’ve never spent so many frustrating days in my life as here, going home and crying and thinking what’s going on?”
Oppal must produce his recommendations by 31 October.
“I’m satisfied that we’ll come up with a positive report so that we can make policing better, so that we can ensure that those people who haven’t been listened to will be listened to in the future,” he said.
But Lori-Ann Ellis, whose sister-in-law Cara was murdered by Pickton was not convinced.
“To be honest, I think this whole inquiry meant to appease the families: OK, we’ll give you the damn inquiry now shut up and go away,” Ellis said. “But foolishly, I still have hope.
“If the report is written as shoddily as the inquiry was handled, God bless all those women out there.
“But if the report is written in such a way that it really does bring forward some positive recommendations then all the tears that were shed in there are worth it,” she said.